Gregory Tracker was born in the Federation of Free Trade, the son of a local huntsman turned ratter named Lucius, and his wife Marigold. The youngest of three, only Gregory lived past the age of eleven, much to his parents grief; that, combined with his fathers rapid drop in status and ability to feed the family, led to his mother taking up prostitution, and his father taking up drinking.
Gregory was a quick lad, not the brightest boy around, but always strong, and fast, and he seemed to make up for the ill health of his passed siblings by refusing to succumb to illness, infection, or disease. He made his way through the streets daily, attempting pickpocketing, though his fingers were never as nimble as his cohorts, and eventually resorting to thuggery, stealing what he could to survive.
His parents grew more and more disillusioned, his mothers work wearing her down to a nub, his fathers drinking slowly taking control of his life. By the age of sixteen, he left home, living in an old warehouse by the docks and running full time with a local gang of toughs, quickly making a name for himself amongst the ruffians as a fast hand with a knife. Unfortunately, his tastes did not run towards rape, or violence against women, and when the leader of the gang, a squirrely bastard called Reynolds, sent the boys after the local working gals, Gregory pulled his knives and went to work on him.
Reynolds survived, but lost his nose and both ears, and gained a few scars on his cheeks and forehead for the effort. Mutilated, but still as canny as ever, he sent his boys after Gregory, necessitating a speedy change of life for the unlucky knife fighter, so Gregory hopped on board an outbound ship and never looked back.
He made himself useful on board, though he was not nautically inclined, by nature, and killed his first two men that year during a brief skirmish with some would-be pirates. While the crew was sympathetic, as he was the youngest on board, and they knew he had no family or men to talk to, no one offered him a chance to talk about what he had been forced to do, and he quickly suppressed the guilt he felt and focused on his work.
For a year and a half, he worked on the boat, taking little pay, but learning how to handle his knives, how to fight dirty, and picking up talk of crime and cons run back on land by the sailors. Most of them were career criminals, working on the open water simply as a way to let things calm down back home before returning to familiar hunting grounds. Gregory took to it well, and found it interesting, and soon enough spoke as a seasoned artist of the glib tongue, even though he had never really done any 'work' , as the men would call it, beyond some simply armed assault.
By the time he was reaching nineteen, he left the ship, making his way into Tormauz with goals and dreams of riches and power. He was not to achieve them, being robbed himself within a week of arriving in the capital, by virtue of asking the wrong people about the wrong things and then walking into an alleyway alone.
it took time, but eventually, he begin to make friends, run with a new gang, and pick up practical tips about thievery, and fencing stolen goods, and second story work. He was a fairly talented climber, making his way into bedrooms and warehouses throughout the city, hijacking carts and making something of a name for himself amongst the rather paltry lower criminal element.
By this time, he had lost count of his age, though he was in his early twenties. He had become rather good friends with Tommy Burgoine, doing some jobs for the man, enough to gain his respect and his loyalty. That got him a sitdown with his father, Festus, and that led to him being adopted into the extended family that was the Borgoine syndicate.
For the first time, life was good. Gregory had found a family, a father figure that was worth respecting, a way to actually use his talents without becoming consumed with guilt. He killed men, but they were bad men, and he stole, but only from those that deserved it or could afford it. He had no real compunctions about robbing from the poor to give to himself, but he vastly preferred things the way Festus ran them, and he came to love his new family.
Eventually, he was given permission to put together a small crew, a group of three men he had worked with many times. Alan, his other second story man, was an even better climber and acrobat than Gregory was, and small, too, able to squeeze into tiny windows and openings to unlock doors. Jericho was a thinker, and really, the brains of the outfit, though he deferred to Gregory on most things; he was the locks and traps expert, and he excelled at his craft. Benjamin was the muscle, plain and simple, a wall of a man with scars on his face and a growl that would send a lion running.
When Jimmy split off from the family, Gregory was...let's say, upset. He and his boys immediately dropped their monetary activities, instead offering to spy on and report on the upstart den. As Jimmys crew began receiving funding from the church, Gregory was the one that reported it first, and twice, Gregory and his crew interrupted the activities of Jimmys bunch, losing them two decent hauls and saving three lives in the process.
(A few hours before the meeting, Gregory and his lads were poking around in Jimmys territory, seeing if they were mobilizing to take advantage of the recently spilled blood. Unfortunately, there were several men who belonged with Jimmy wandering about, and they were ready to go. Benjamin, the lest stealthy of the lot, was seen, and as was his nature, pulled his club and went to work on the three men.)
Gregory pulled his knives, flipping his left blade into a reverse grip and sprinting forward as Ben swung his club, hard, into the head of one of the thugs. The man dropped like a stone, sending a spurt of bright red blood into the air, and Ben kept right on going, stepping forward.
"Damn it all, BEN!" Greg yelled, flipping his right dagger and catching it by the blade, throwing it awkwardly at one of the two who had a sword out; it didn't hit him, and likely wouldn't have done much damage if it had, but it did make him duck, and let Ben get another swing in.
Unfortunately, Alan and Jericho weren't much in the way of fighters. Jericho, grabbing Alans arm, led him on back, so Gregory knew it was just him and Ben against the two conscious thugs. Decent odds, but nothing like what he would have preferred...that is, to stay out of the fight.
"Mothers milk!" Ben grunted as a dark red line appeared on his forearm, Jimmys boys finally getting to grips with the situation and bringing shortswords to bear.
By then, though, Gregory was on them. Lashing out with a vicious kick, he jumped forward, stabbing at his opponents shoulder, burying his dagger deep into the muscle. He was rewarded by a blood curdling scream, and a surprisingly powerful blow to the chin, enough to make him see lights and stagger back.
Ben had bitten off more than he could chew as well; his opponent was a crafty one, and skilled besides. Bens trick of swinging his club as hard as he could and hoping to connect wasn't working; already, he was bleeding from two more punctures, not dangerous wounds individually, but together, he was losing blood fast.
Things were not looking up. Gregory knew that Ben wouldn't back off, not until his target was dropped, and he only had one knife left. He hadn't geared up for a fight. Lunging back in, he brought his hand up and grabbed the sword arm of his own opponent, burying his knife into the mans gut and unceremoniously shoving him off to the side to bleed out.
Drawing his leg out, he snapped his arm forward, scoring a slash on the last mans leg, and Ben finally connected, the fellows head turning around with a disturbing squelch sound as he hit the ground.
Panting, Gregory pulling his knives from his opponent, retrieving the one he threw away and looking at Ben angrily.
"Dumb Ox. Why the hell would you go rushing into a fight we weren't ready for? Tch." Shaking his head, he bent down low, fingering the blade of a broadsword the first one to fall was wearing, though he had never had a chance to draw it. Unfastening the belt, he pulled it from the corpse, still shaking his head.
"Gregor, t'weren't my fault. They saw me, an' you know what woulda come o'that," the big man rumbled, thick fingers holding his bleeding arm together.
"Weren't gonna end without blood noways, Jimmy has a say," he added, peering down the street suspiciously, and glancing back over his shoulder.
Gregory grunted. "Might have a point, at that. Let's just get back, alright? Get that arm sewed up. Hell, you take a cut like a champion, I have to say," he said, glancing up at his friend with a smile.
Benjamin wasn't smiled. He was looking down, a confused expression on his face, inspecting the feathered end of a crossbow bolt that was sticking out of his chest. He raised a hand, as if asking permission to speak, but before he could, two more bolts whistled out of the darkness, thudding into him and sending him down to the ground.
Gregory didn't have time to say anything; he pushed himself off of the ground, his teeth clenched and the looted sword sheathed in his hand, and he ran. As his feet pounded on the flagstones of the street, he blinked back moisture, putting the thought of Ben dead out of his mind. It wasn't the time for that, not unless he wanted to join him. He had seen enough of such wounds to know; his big friend wouldn't survive that, not even if medics were waiting to tend to him. Another body created by Jimmy and his thugs.
Biting back a curse, he nearly fell as he rounded a corner, a single bolt whipping past him to bury itself in the arm of a passing drunk. The drunk fell with a yelp, and Gregory just ran faster; he heard, a few moments laughter, the drunks yelling cut short, followed by drifting laughter.
All that mattered now was getting back home, and getting everyone armed. If he had a say, Jimmy would be dead by morning.